Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Convict Ship Margaret - 1840

Embarked: 131 women
Voyage: 109 days
Deaths: 1
Surgeon's Journal: yes
Previous vessel: King William arrived 17 August 1840
Next vessel: Pekoe arrived 6 November 1840
Captain Edward Canney
Surgeon Colin Arrott Browning
Follow the Irish Convict Ship Trail
Hunter Valley convicts and passengers arriving on the Margaret in 1840

Female prisoners were transported to New South Wales on the Margaret in 1837, 1839 and this voyage in 1840.

Last of the Female Convict Ships

The Margaret was the last convict ship to transport female prisoners to New South Wales. By the time the Margaret arrived in August 1840 it had been over fifty-two years since the First Fleet first brought prisoners to the shores of Botany Bay. More than 12,000 women had been transported to New South Wales in that time.

Convicts Embarked

Colin Arrott Browning kept a Medical Journal from 20 April 1840 to 26 August 1840. On 15th April he attended the Grange Gorman prison in Dublin to inspect women who were to be embarked on the Margaret......The day advancing, and the Surgeon of the Prison not making his appearance, I was compelled to proceed with my Inspection in his absence, relying on my own observation, and on such information as I could obtain from Mrs. Rawlins, the Matron and Mr. Marques, Governor of the Prison.

A disposition to impose upon me prisoners whose age and state of health rendered them unfit for subjection to the influences which generally obtain during a long voyage was, as usual, manifested, though perhaps, in a somewhat less degree than on former occasions. My Inspection I endeavoured to conduct with the utmost regard to my printed instructions, setting aside such Individuals as did not commend themselves to my mind as being in a suitable state. Whether Margaret Smith, the prisoner who died about three weeks after we sailed from Kingstown and whose case is the first detailed in the foregoing journal, particularly arrested my attention in Prison or not I cannot now recollect
. [2]

They were all dressed in new clothes. For the voyage they were each issued with two jackets, two linen shifts, two pairs of stockings, two handkerchiefs, two caps, one pair of shoes and two petticoats.

He accepted 101 women on this day and they were embarked on 20th April. Another 32 were embarked four days later. One was later returned to the prison, too ill to make the voyage.

Free Passengers

Seventeen free women and their children came on the Margaret -

Children on the Margaret -

Edward O'Neill, Patrick Traynor, William Nugent, Mary Byrne, Eliza Sloan, Mary Kelly, Mary A. Mooney, Maria Dunne, Mary Reilly, Patrick Rourke, Nicholas Doyle, William Sullivan, Peter Victory, John Cranson, Bridget Hollywood, Thomas, John and Patrick Flaher, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Furlong, Judith Callaghan, John and Hugh Hanna

Free passengers on the Margaret -

Mary Dwyer, Mary Ryan, Norah Ryan from Tipperary Eliza Green, Isaac Gree, James Green, Thomas Green from Antrim Mary Clarke, John McEntee, James McEntee from Cavan Catherine Doyle, Mary Doyle from Roscommon Thomas Shearer, Andrew Shearer from Wicklow John and Hugh Hanna from Londonderry. [1]

Free passenger Mr Swanzy (Swansea) caused considerable conflict with the surgeon during the voyage.


The Margaret departed Kingstown, Dublin on 30 April 1840 with 131 female prisoners and 21 children of convicts

Surgeon Colin Arrott Browning

The surgeon remarked that his duties consisted of endeavouring to prevent rather than to cure disease. When the prisoners were embarked they were instructed with reference to the important points of giving due attention to the state of their stomach and bowels and of making the earliest possible application to him in the event of the slightest deviation of perfect health. The hospital bell was rung at stated hours morning and evening which called the attention of all to the regulations laid down for their health.

Dr. Browning became ill with a severely injured leg on 2nd August 1840 and remained so until the vessel reached Sydney on 17th August, although he continued his medical duties throughout the voyage. He came into conflict with the male passenger Mr. Swanzy whose embarkation on the Margaret....... I cannot but deeply regret as I must consider him the cause of unutterable a time when I was almost sinking under the influence of fever and of arduous labour amongst the prisoners, and disappointment, chiefly arising from the destructive tending of Mr. Swanzy to conduct to neutralize all my efforts to instruct and reclaim the wretched women who had been entrusted to my care.[2]

Port Jackson

One hundred and thirty female prisoners arrived in Port Jackson on 18th August 1840, one having died early in the voyage. There had been two births.

Convicts of the Margaret identified in the Hunter Valley :

Byrne, Bridget

Connors, Margaret

Coughlan, Judith

Duffy, Mary

Ferguson, Eliza

Fitzpatrick, Ellen

Flaher, Julia

Gallagher, Mary

Hollywood, Catherine

Johnstone, Jane

Kennedy, Mary

Logan, Catherine

Madine, Margaret

McBride, Alice

Quinn, Jane

Rice, Margaret

Scully, May

Sullivan, Mary

Woods, Mary

Notes and Links

1). The Margaret was one of three convict ships bringing female prisoners to New South Wales in 1840, the others being the Surry and Isabella. A total of 461 female prisoners arrived in the colony in 1840.

2). Colin Arrot Browning was surgeon on the convict ships Arab 1834 (VDL); Elphinstone 1836 (VDL); Margaret in 1840; Tortoise 1842 (VDL);Earl Grey in 1843 (VDL), Theresa in 1845 (VDL); Pestonjee Bomanjee in 1847 (VDL) and the Hashemy in 1849

3). Grange Gorman Penitentiary in 1838.


[1]. State Records Musters and other papers relating to convict ships. Series CGS 1155, Reels 2417-2428. Ancestry

[2] UK, Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1817-1857 : Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals (ADM 101, 804 bundles and volumes). . The National Archives. Kew, Richmond, Surrey.